This past weekend, I received the following report and prayer request from Pastor Yaroslav Machinsky, a faithful SGA-sponsored missionary pastor in Ukraine. It is a wonderful example of how our brothers and sisters refuse to be deterred by opposition and setbacks, and press on with fruitful ministry no matter what the circumstances . . .

Chernobyl Zone Church Hitby Arsonists On Christmas Eve2

I am sending you this urgent prayer need for the church in the village of Mlachivka, which is located in Ukraine’s Chernobyl zone. On Eastern Christmas Eve (January 6) a malicious arson attack was carried out on the Mlachivka Church in an attempt to destroy the building. An unidentified person (or persons) broke several windows in the building of the church, and damaged the electrical cable. Having entered the building through the window, the attackers destroyed the church furniture and set the building on fire from inside. God miraculously protected the supporting structures of the church building from fire damage, but the smoldering fire inside the building led to heavy smoke damage, and soot in all the rooms of the building. The furniture in the Sunday school classroom and in the kitchen was destroyed.

Despite the damage, the Christmas service was held the next day on January 7. The service was held in the church yard in the presence of emergency services such as firefighters, gas and electric crews, and Ukrainian police. In addition, we held the Immanuel’s Child children’s Christmas outreach on Sunday, January 9, in the yard of the church, and also at the orphanage. Next, we loaded up a van with gifts, Immanuel’s Child Bethlehem Stars, and children’s Bibles, then went door-to door distributing these gifts to younger children who could not come to the church.

In the nearest future, Pastor Nikolai Litrov and I will conduct an examination and assessment of the necessary finances needed for restoration of the church building. We will also have to look into installing protective bars on the windows, security alarms, and video surveillance. We ask you for prayer and financial assistance for the restoration of the building of the Mlachivka Church. Above all, we ask you to continue praying for the advance of the Gospel in the Chernobyl zone!

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Chernobyl Zone Church Hitby Arsonists On Christmas Eve1 1
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I, along with others of the SGA staff, have visited this region and enjoyed wonderful times of fellowship and ministry with Pastor Machinsky, Pastor Nikolai, and this vibrant, zealous church. Please join us in praying for follow-up ministry from the church’s Immanuel’s Child outreach, as well as ongoing ministry that will take place in the days ahead. As Joseph acknowledged in Genesis 50:20, God has a hand in all of this. What the arsonists meant for evil, God meant for good—and the life-changing Gospel will redeem many lives!

You can make a special gift to help the Mlachivka church and their many fruitful ministries in this time of crisis. If you prefer to give by check, please write the Mlachivka church in the memo section of the check. Thank you in advance!

In His love and service,

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson

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